Sasha-Lee Olivier, originally the runner up of Miss South Africa 2019, who later assumed the title when Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe has been the target of shameful tabloid reporting.
The Miss South Africa organisation, who have in recent years sought to dismantle the stereotypes surrounding beauty pageants, were forced to respond to what they have described as salacious.
Tabloid slammed for body-shaming article
This comes after prominent publication ‘City Press’ ran a story suggesting that Olivier, a plus-size model was pregnant.
The article was based entirely on an image which the publication received which led a reporter to contact Miss SA.
Despite receiving official confirmation prior to publication that Olivier was not pregnant, City Press ran with the claim that she might be with child. They suggested that a pregnancy would constitute the first major scandal faced by the organisation.
“We did not condone entering into any salacious debate about Sasha-Lee’s body given the degrading and discriminatory intentions of this article,” read the statement by the Miss SA Organisation.
Miss SA and Olivier are considering taking legal action against the publication.
Olivier campaigned for the crown on a body positivity ticket, and has served as an inspiration to both women and men.
“Sasha Lee stood as an advocate for fuller figure women and expanded on the organisation’s prior representations of beauty. We as an organisation stand strong with Sasha Lee with this understanding of beauty and do not take lightly to any form of body shaming and discrimination which is intended to disempower and humiliate her.”
Olivier took to Instagram Live to clear up the claims in a short but impactful message to fans.
“I know I’m not pregnant. I know who I am. I am comfortable in my skin,” Olivier said.
“It’s not even about weight. It’s about every girl that hasn’t felt comfortable or like she does not fit in. You don’t have to fit in. Just be yourself. That’s all and that’s enough.
“I’m so disappointed in the fact that we’re supposed to be building each other up, but we choose to break each other down. I hope this is a teachable moment for every single one of you. You have a responsibility to use your platform to build and lift each other up. Let’s focus on what’s important.”
Miss SA said they are appalled by the events that transpired over the weekend calling into question the ethics of the publication.
“The article is pure body shaming, implying that if Sasha-Lee is not pregnant, then she is fat. We would have thought the managing editors, news editor and journalist, who are all female, would never have supported such an offensive article, which judges people based on their external appearance. Let us put it on the record that Sasha-Lee Olivier is a real person and is deeply hurt by what appeared.”
Watch Sasha Lee Olivier’s response